Cape Verde, through Resolution 26 / IX / 2017 of 7 February, approved its accession to the 1958 Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (the “New York Convention“), becoming the 158th contracting State to the New York Convention.
Following its ratification, on 22 March 2018, the Secretary-General of the United Nations confirmed that Cape Verde deposited the Letter of Accession to the New York Convention, completing the process of accession. Consequently, Cape Verde became the 158th Contracting State to the New York Convention, which entered into force in the country on 20 June 2018 (90 days after the deposit of the instrument of accession, in accordance with Article XII (2) of the New York Convention).
According to Art. 2 of Resolution 26 / IX / 2017, Cape Verde has made a common reservation based on the Principle of Reciprocity, establishing that it will only apply the Convention in which the arbitral awards have been made in the territory of another signatory State.
The Cape Verdean Arbitration Law (Law 76/VI/2005 of 16 August) is primarily inspired by the old Portuguese Arbitration Law (Law 31/1986 of 29 August), but is similar to the UNCITRAL Model Law.
Although the internal law of Cape Verde (Articles 44 and 45) already provided for the automatic recognition of foreign arbitral awards, adherence to the New York Convention imposes international standards to Cape Verde in this regard, while establishing a more common legal procedure.
Having contributed significantly to the simplification and harmonization of procedures for the recognition and enforcement of international arbitral awards, the New York Convention has two important features:
(i) it imposes the recognition of arbitration agreements by the signatory State, provided that they respect a matter that can be resolved by means of arbitration and therefore, imposing a duty on the courts of the signatory State to refuse to judge any disputes which are covered by an arbitration agreement that is valid and effective; and
(ii) it imposes on the signatory State the recognition and enforceability of arbitral awards rendered in another signatory State, in accordance with the rules of procedure of the territory in which the judgement is invoked and in accordance with the conditions laid down in the New York Convention itself.
By joining the New York Convention, Cape Verde arbitration is becoming more credible to resolve international disputes.
Ana Constantino, Aceris Law LLC